Alumnus starts sustainable coffee business | Mercer Made

Shane Buerster sits in front of tablet next to Z Beans coffee mug
Mercer alumnus Shane Buerster founded Z Beans Coffee.

Your daily cup of joe is doing a world of good if you’re drinking Z Beans Coffee.

Founded by Mercer University alumnus Shane Buerster, the company aims to create sustainable solutions for impoverished Ecuadorian coffee farmers.

Buerster first met the farmers during a Mercer On Mission trip in 2016. That experience blossomed into a business idea that earned him a fellowship from the Mercer Innovation Center.

Since that first trip to Ecuador, Buerster graduated in 2018 with majors in economics, marketing and Spanish and opened three Z Beans locations in Macon.

This year alone, Z Beans imported 23,000 pounds of coffee from 12 Ecuadorian farmers.

Although the beans are from Ecuador, Z Beans Coffee is truly homegrown.

Mercer Made is a series in which we feature notable people, businesses, products and inventions connected to Mercer University.


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Jennifer Falk is the director of digital communications at Mercer University and editor-in-chief of The Den. She creates and supervises the development of written and multimedia content for primary University web pages and e-newsletters, including The Den and This Week @ Mercer. In addition, she collaborates with schools and offices to maintain web content and examines data and analytics to drive content creation decisions. She also serves as a member of the University's social media committee.